Boris Johnson’s flop Chinese Business Park near DLR sees student housing conversion plan approved

Plans to convert a failed Chinese-built Business Park at the Royal Docks has seen conversion plans into student housing approved.

Newham councillors gave the green light for the site located 200 metres from Beckton Park DLR earlier this month.

The ABP was a flagship Boris Johnson project announced in 2013 when Mayor with the intention of a Chinese developer building the site with ten Chinese business occupants announced. In 2018 the first buildings opened to grand claims. In 2022 it had no tenants except for a Jobcentre.

Courtesy RAD

It’s not actually named the Asian Business Park despite what’s often stated but rather the Advanced Business Park. Developed by Chinese developers it was aimed at businesses from Asia.

Street names such as Mandarin Avenue never saw much life as the Chinese property bubble popping hit along with geopolitical changes.

Student centre

Indicative entrance

Now RAD are behind plans for a total of 628 student rooms will be created near the University of East London’s Docklands Campus. It’s also very close to City Airport’s runway.

I doubt the noise will be too much of an issue for many students given some of the places popular with that target group. Above pubs, next to clubs etc.

When I was one if I had silence before 2am I was doing well. It was just the way it was as a student (and many will be out or up late anyway).

It’ll be welcome to see some use on the land which not only failed post-2013 but sat empty for many years before that. It’s very close to excellent transport links with DLR services every five minutes.

New life through hundreds of students should help local business with some in the past complaining of being let down by ABP’s failure.

Business Park located close to Newham council offices

In terms of the rather austere environment changes are proposed, with Urban Design feedback stating:

“A number of external works are also proposed to facilitate the change of use. For the most part these are positive.

“In particular, additional soft landscaping along Mandarin Street and the dock edge will enhance the environment within these spaces.”

However it notes some compromises due to change of use:

“In some ways this undermines the original design concept and the potential for a more continuous active frontage with regular entrance points defined by legible entrances and canopies”.

The plan was unanimously approved. A Strategic Planning meeting which covered the application can be viewed here.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    One thought on “Boris Johnson’s flop Chinese Business Park near DLR sees student housing conversion plan approved

    • Student accommodation is the new Klondike gold rush. Pack them in and charge exhorbitant rents.


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